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Three of My Artist Friends

Three of My Artist Friends

March 19, 2019

Dear WinkWorld Readers, 

This issue will be very different from my usual posts, but I want to share some of my friends’ art. I have many friends with lots of artistic talent, but I chose these three for a specific reason: They each started painting later in life.  I have known each of them for many years professionally and personally, but I had no idea that they had this talent.  

Dr. Janet Towell was my dear colleague and friend during my years at California State University, Stanislaus. Our offices were right beside each other, and we lived in the same neighborhood.  I have such happy memories of our time together.  She was an passionate children’s literature professor, but never once did I see her draw or paint anything.  However, now that she has retired, she paints a lot.  I believe Janet does mostly water colors.

Sometimes this little mouse is holding a book or a heart, and I’m guessing that it even held a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day.

You may recognized the painting above: Venice.  Janet and her husband took Janet’s mom on this trip for her 96th birthday, which was her FIRST European trip, and she loved it.  Below here is a photo of Janet and her mom in a gondola in Venice.


Janet also likes to paint sunflowers. Some of Janet’s art is available at Etsy

Dr. Sharon Whitehead-van Loben Sels

Sharon was once a graduate student in one of my night classes, and I used to notice a CA Highway Patrol (CHIPS) officer walking the halls by our classroom.  I thought he was simply doing his duty and helping with security. Eventually, he came into the room during one of our classes, and quietly sat down in the back by himself.  I thought he was just interested, and I asked him if he had his homework ready.  By the end of the semester, he became an informal member of this class, and we all thoroughly enjoyed him and his contributions to our class.  Several years later, he and Sharon married, and the two of them became (and still are) great family friends. Jan (CHIPS) officer even came to the ranch in the early 90s and help Wink calve out 450 heifers.  Oh, the stories!

During those days, Sharon read/wrote and read/wrote, but I never saw any artistic doodling or drawing from her.  Now, in retirement, Sharon paints with oils and acrylics.  Here are a few of her treasures.

Balloon Ladies (oil)

Swaying Women (acrylic)

Moonlight Swim (acrylic)


Boy in Cart (oil)

Vicki Reid

Vicki was also once one of my graduate students.  Today she and her family contribute in many ways in her celebration of community through all of the seasons, and she also has started painting; I am posting a few examples including one of her husband. 

In addition, Sharon and her husband, maintain an very active Little Free Library, which magically changes its look for the holidays.

I am also constantly amazed at what I learn about former students, once a few years have passed.  When Vicki was in my classes, I had no idea that she had once been a former body builder, who was involved in competitions.  Looks to me like she was probably a very good body builder, too!

It seems people are multifaceted.

1 Comment

  • Sharon Whitehead-van Whitehead - van Loben Sels

    Thank you Joan! Jan was pleased he made WinkWorld as well. Love you! Janet and Vicki-your work is beautiful. As my artist friend says, “Keep painting!”

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